Islet amyloid, formed by aggregation of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), contributes to β-cell death in type 2 diabetes. We previously showed that extracellular hIAPP aggregates promote Fas-mediated β-cell apoptosis. Here, we tested if hIAPP aggregates can trigger the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway (MAP). hIAPP aggregation in Ad-hIAPP transduced INS-1 and human islet β-cells promoted cytochrome c release, caspase-9 activation and apoptosis, which were reduced by Bax inhibitor. Amyloid formation in hIAPP-expressing mouse islets during culture increased caspase-9 activation in β-cells. Ad-hIAPP transduced islets from CytcKA/KA and BaxBak βDKO mice (models of blocked MAP), had lower caspase-9-positive and apoptotic β-cells than transduced wild-type islets, despite comparable amyloid formation. Blocking Fas (markedly) and Bax or caspase-9 (modestly) reduced β-cell death induced by extracellular hIAPP aggregates. These findings suggest a role for MAP in amyloid-induced β-cell death and a potential strategy to reduce intracellular amyloid β-cell toxicity by blocking cytochrome c apoptotic function.
Keywords: Amylin; Caspase-9; Cytochrome c; Islet amyloid; Type 2 diabetes; β-cell apoptosis.
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